Today one of my studio-mates who used to live in Holland brought in her wooden shoes, put some delicious muffins into them and declared, “Happy Sinterklaas Eve!” We then listed to David Sedaris on YouTube reading his story about the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, and laughed and laughed and laughed.
That afternoon, when I left to go pick up the kids, I grabbed the wooden shoes and stashed them in my bike basket. When I got to school Miles came running up to me and asked, “What did you bring for a snack?!” and started unpacked my basket. He unpacked everything and started munching away at the crackers. I looked at him, dumbfounded, and asked, “Aren’t you even the slightest bit curious about the wooden shoes????” He just stared at me blankly and kept eating.
That afternoon Nadine had gymnastics and Miles had Karate, so while they were gone I filled the shoes with a pack of gum, a Cliff Bar, and a mini Hane’s Ginger Ale, and put one in each of their rooms. When they got back they were thrilled with their unexpected bounty.
That night at dinner we talked about the Sinterklaas holiday, and I explained that it is celebrated in many countries, including Belgium, where my dad is from. Then I told them the cautionary tale about the year Bonpapa got coal in his shoe because he had been naughty - he had played with matches and lit a small forest fire. Oops.